Boro strach while the iron is hot

Boro Strach while the iron is hot

Steve Gibson’s decision to cast Gareth Southgate aside and bring Gordon Strachan into the Riverside hot seat while Boro were sitting just a point off the Championship’s top spot may have seemed strange to the neutrals, but it could prove to be a master-stroke in the long run.
The majority of media journalists and pundits were quick to stick the knife into the previously squeaky clean and ultra loyal Boro supremo when Southgate was axed following a 2-0 win against Derby.
However many of these people have not witnessed what Gibson and the remaining followers have had to suffer, not only this season, but in last year’s diabolical relegation campaign.
While the timing of the sacking may seem strange to some, the majority of Boro fans were only puzzled that he did not wield the axe a lot earlier – up to ten months ago during the January transfer window.
That is all water under the bridge now and, in Strachan’s appointment, Gibson has drafted in a very different animal to what the players have been used to under Gareth’s leadership.
For once, Middlesbrough FC have employed an experienced manager and not gone down the route of handing the position to a novice, who can ‘learn his trade’ at our expense.
Strachan has been praised by his former players for getting the best out of them, being good at developing the younger players and taking nothing less than 110% from any team he sends out on to a football pitch.
Off the pitch the fiery Scot is big on player discipline – something which many fans feel has been lacking under Southgate – is big on eating and drinking the right things and it appears that he has a better grip on the tactical side of the game.
In the past Strachan kept Coventry in the Premier League for several seasons on a shoe-string budget, guided Southampton to their highest-ever Premier League finish, an FA Cup final and Europe, before leading Celtic to three successive SPL titles north of the border.
All the ingredients are there for Strachan to get a grip of the current squad, possibly bring in a few new faces to freshen things up and instil some belief into the side to try and get a promotion push back on the rails.
If he wondered what sort of a challenge is in store at the Riverside, then Saturday’s dismal defeat to struggling Plymouth will have left him in no doubt that Boro’s inability to perform on home soil is the major Achilles heel to any success this term.
The plus point is, by acting while we are still in and around the upper echelons of the table and with 31 games still to play, Gibson has given Strachan every chance of making it first time lucky in our bid to get back to the big time!
Written by Craig Smithson, a Middlesbrough FC season-ticket holder and a sports writer who blogs about football betting.

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